How to create a brand identity for a small business

If you are a small business, you could be under the impression that branding is not for you. This is not the case! A brand is basically how your company is presented and perceived by your customers and plays an important role in the success of your business. A brand identity is also much more than just a company logo. The brand identity is crucial for ensuring your brand message is coherent across all marketing media.

Here are some tips on how to create a brand identity for a small business from scratch.

What is a brand identity?

An identity is the visual components that are used to represent your company. Some visual elements that display the brand identity are the company website, signage, literature, packaging and stationary. The company logo is the main identifiable visual element that helps a customer discover, share and remember a company’s brand although it is only a small part of the brand identity.

Research the company

This is the most crucial part to designing a brand identity. The goal is to create a design brief that will guide the rest of the project. Use these questions to help start the process:

  • Who is your target audience? How do you want them to feel/think about your brand?
  • What key values do you want your brand to reflect?
  • What is your ethos/mission of the brand?
  • What products/services do you offer?
  • What are the benefits you want associated with using your company?

Have a look at how your competition uses colour, typefaces and visual styles. This will help ensure you create something that is unique to the company and differentiates the brand from the competition.

Using your research you should now be able to create a brand identity design brief to summarise what you have learnt. The design brief will act as a reference point to ensure the new brand identity stays on the right track.

Create a brand identity

Once the brand identity brief has been created, it is time to start designing the logo and identity system.

Design the logo

The logo is the key element that distinguishes a brand from its competitors. The most effective logos are simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate. For a more detailed explanation see what makes a good logo?

Basic RGB

Create a Brand Identity System

The purpose of the identity system is to form a systematic visual language around the logo. This should complement the design and offer a family of useful, flexible elements that will help the marketing designs.

The identity system defines how the logo should be used, the colour palette, typography and language style guidelines.

Once the brand identity system has been finalised, it should be presented as style guidelines. Style guidelines exist to ensure all marketing designs have a cohesive look and feel. The style guidelines are usually presented as a print ready PDF and outline the logo usage, typeface, colours and layout guidelines.

Now you know the basics of creating a brand identity, you are ready to create or update your brand.

Got any branding tips or advice, share them in the comments below!